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Early retirement travels - week 5 Costa Rica to Colombia

The view from my "office"

There’s less to say about our travels this week, we decided on some lazy days before Sally returns home and I head to Colombia. So we booked more luxurious accommodation with a plan to do nothing but relax. For Monday through Wednesday, we did exactly that.

We walked on the beach and I managed to get sunburn. I hate it because it's seriously uncomfortable and completely avoidable. I’m normally super careful to apply sunscreen but was lulled into a false sense of security by the clouds and that we were only walking for a short time. I looked like a lobster when I woke the next morning - not the look I was hoping for!

We watched the hotel owner releasing hatchling turtles on the beach and saw them make their way into the sea. She buys the eggs from local restaurants, incubates and releases them - almost 7,000 hatchlings so far. Presumably the eggs would otherwise have been on restaurant menus - I did wonder whether they simply buy more for their menus? We thought we’d now seen the whole turtle lifecycle, from the laying of eggs in Tortuguero and now the release of the hatchlings, but there is another stage. An adult turtle had reached the end of his or her life and washed up on the beach. It's how nature works, but still it was sad to see and we didn’t wait around to see what scavengers would appear.

Monkeys provided entertainment at breakfast by stealing bananas from the buffet and Sally had more chances to spot iguanas – the Costa Ricans call them tree chickens because they’re so plentiful and supposedly taste like chicken, not something I have any desire to test.

And the rest of the time I read my book, sulked a bit because of my sunburn, did a little blogging, kept up with the news and watched some Netflix. I’m getting quite good at being lazy!

On Thursday we drove to the capital, San Jose, ready for our early morning flights the following day. In hindsight, I wish we’d spent a day or two in San Jose – we’d spent most of our time in small towns in more rural areas and it would have been interesting to see the comparison to the capital city.

And then Sally and I were at the airport, Sally for her flight back to our apartment in France, with a brief stop to see family in the UK. For me, next stop is Medellin, Colombia. Whatever the distance, travel days seem to be a write off – San Jose to Medellin was only two one hour flights (San Jose to Panama City and Panama City to Medellin) but still took twelve hours door to door.

Arriving at Medellin airport, I took a bus to the El Centro district which was an intense introduction - cars and people everywhere. After relaxed Costa Rica, I felt nervous and on edge as I walked to my hostel with my wallet and passport shoved deep in my pockets, just in case. Fortunately, the area of Medellin where I'm staying, Laureles, is much more relaxed, with many eateries and coffee shops. I’m liking it. I’ve run in the Parque National Cerro El Volador and also on roads closed to traffic on Sunday mornings for cyclists, runners and walkers to use. I’ve wandered the streets - I have a fascination for looking in foreign supermarkets - and I’ve found a favourite place for coffee already. The downside, it’s less fun exploring alone, so I’m looking forward to next weekend when my daughter joins me and we’ll explore some of Colombia together. (Pictures below are from my first morning in Medellin, views of the city from my run, my sleeping arrangements (a significant downgrade from the start of the week!) and my new favourite coffee shop).

Not such a successful week for exercise, two runs and one workout for a 6 out of 10. Healthy eating is still on the same track, not super healthy but doing well at avoiding the unhealthy stuff and still no alcohol, 7 out of 10 feels about right.

Daily diary and costs

I'm including a list of what we did during our week and the approximate costs - I'm using this part of my blog as a mini diary for myself, but feel free to read if you're interested.

Week 5 - what we've done:

Monday – Near Parrita. Morning walk on the beach. Then it rained. Exercise workout in the rain.

Tuesday – Near Parrita. Watched release of hatchling turtles. Then the most lazy of days reading my book.

Wednesday – Near Parrita. Lazy day. Reading and a little blog work.

Thursday – Travel from Pacific coast to San Jose. Walk in San Jose in the afternoon.

Friday – Travel from San Jose, Costa Rica to Medellin, Colombia. It took all day.

Saturday – Medellin. Morning run. Afternoon coffee shop, reading and blog writing. Netflix evening.

Sunday – Medellin. Morning run. Walk, shopping centre, supermarket, coffee shop, reading. Netflix evening

Week 5 - we spent a total of £584 / €654 / $765 for 2 people on:

Accommodation £278 / €310 / $364 85% is our three nights in a more luxury hotel

Meals/Coffee/Snacks £167 / €187 / $219 Eating in the nice hotel also cost more

Transport £119 / €134 / $156 Car hire & fuel

Laundry £3 / €4 / $4

Toiletries/Medicine £8 / €9 / $11

Telephone £9 / €10 / $11


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